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US, South Korea start joint exercises
(China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-23 06:15

SEOUL: US and Republic of Korea (ROK) forces kicked off annual computer-simulated military exercises yesterday that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) criticizes as a rehearsal for an imminent invasion of the state.

US, South Korea start joint exercises
US soldiers pose with South Korean soldiers wearing North Korean army uniforms after military exercises by US and South Korea troops at Daegu on March 2005. [AFP]
About 10,000 US troops are participating in the drills, dubbed Ulchi Focus Lens 2005, said US military spokesman David Oten.

The exercises, scheduled to last until September 2, are "designed to evaluate and improve combined and joint co-ordination, procedures, plans and systems for conducting operations critical to the defence" of the Korean Peninsula, the US military said in a release.

Oten said about half of the US troops participating were from bases outside the ROK. The number of ROK forces taking part was not immediately available.

This year's drills come at a sensitive time, a week ahead of the scheduled resumption of international talks aimed at resolving the DPRK nuclear issue and amid burgeoning economic and political exchanges between the ROK and the DPRK.

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